Source: bought it new
Price Paid: Bought new on sale approx $100
Great ultralight pack for long-distance hiking, or carry more moderate loads for a weekend trip without adding extra pounds to your back. Rated to carry up to 35 pounds, and does so well. I love this pack!
- Not a lot of pockets/compartments (must be organized!)
- Back panel has started to bend during use
I am a 30-year old woman with lots of outdoor experience. I hiked about 500 miles of the PCT in southern California in 2009, but had to leave the trail for physical as well as financial reasons. Since then, I have made it my mission to complete the PCT in sections. Unfortunately, I can only use my allotted vacation time from work, so it's slow going.
I bought this pack after my thru-hike attempt and wish I had had it back then! I've since used it on three summer solo trips ranging from about 65-85 miles in northern and southern Oregon. This is the fourth pack I have used/owned...I have been gradually reducing my pack weight over the years, and I think this is pretty much the perfect pack for me.
I am 5'9", about 160lbs and the women's medium fits me well. I think mine is a 2010 model, which I purchased in 2011 on the recommendation of the store employee who told me that the newer models do not have a padded hipbelt. While this would save weight, I prefer the comfort of the padding. The straps are all a bit long for me, but that's no big deal. I can always cut off the excess if I want. It looks like GoLite is no longer making this pack men's- and women's-specific.
Since there is only a thin foam back panel, this pack doesn't have the venting capability of some heavier packs with complicated frames and airflow systems. However, the mesh back panel serves its purpose as well as one could expect. The straps adjust easily and are comfortable. The only issue I've had is when I was wearing a shirt that didn't cover enough of my shoulders and the mesh on the shoulder straps rubbed a little.
This is an ultralight pack, in the smallest capacity offered by GoLite (except day packs), so don't expect it to haul your big tent, three cooking pans, 15° synthetic-fill sleeping bag and gourmet meals for a week. But if you can pack reasonably light for a short trip, or have your gear list down to the essentials, you could do a long trail with this pack. I have loaded it with gear and food for about a week. I was hitting its 30 pound capacity with full food and water, but it held up well and carried the load comfortably.
Organization & accessibility:
Ultralight packs are light on excess pockets, straps, etc., so you won't find a sleeping bag compartment or a lid here. You need to be able to organize your gear well to efficiently pack the main compartment and large (but flat) outside pocket. There are two stretch fabric water bottle pockets on the sides and two hipbelt pockets for snacks and essentials. You can also get creative strapping things to the sides and top with the compression straps. It does have ice-axe loops and an internal water bladder sleeve and hose ports on both sides.
The load distribution all depends on how you pack it, but if you do it well, it carries comfortably up to its weight rating. The load stays close to your back, so it feels very stable - it's not up over your head like some larger packs (especially those with large lids). After some use though, I have found that the foam back panel insert is warping, which can be a little uncomfortable. It does not have load-lifter straps, which would be nice, but I don't think they're essential because the load sits low enough on your back that you don't really need that adjustment.
Adjusting this pack to fit different loads is easy. Just roll down the top a little or a lot, and use the side and top straps to keep your load stable and secure.
I don't think I'm super hard on my gear, but I have pushed this pack to its capacity and it shows no signs of failing. It has handled abrasion well too.
Overall, I love this pack and recommend it to anyone looking for an ultralight women's pack!
Design: Frameless, lid-less roll-top rucksack
Size: ~3000 cubic inches
Number of Pockets: 1
Max. Load Carried: 25lbs
Height of Owner: 6'3"
Price Paid: $100
I bought this pack having used several GoLite products before, having a solid understanding of how to use a frameless pack, and having a solid lightweight kit to stuff inside it.
The purpose of the pack was to replace a long-retired frameless climbing rucksack that I had sewed myself.
The Jam 2 is a very simple, single main compartment design, with a roll-top closure (thank God, no top lid), with a single, reasonably large front pocket for small essentials.
I did several moderately long day hikes (20-25 miles, 4k-6k vertical feet) in preparation for a wonderful hike of the John Muir Trail (220 miles in 11 days). Pack weight was 10 pounds base weight, plus food, fuel, and water, so in the end I carried 20 pounds several times.
The pack works very well given what it is. If you know how to pack a frameless pack, then you'll probably like it, if your load isn't too heavy. The design is comfortable, reasonably simple, and straightforward.
My criticisms are fairly minor.
1.) What on earth is there a 'hydration sleeve' inside the pack? This is for ultalight backpacking; if you can't remove your water bottle quickly then your load is too heavy. I sliced this stupid sleeve out. It adds bulk and weight.
2.) Ice axe attachments are rather extraneous. I'm currently contemplating slicing them off. They would be fine for an ultralight axe, but I've only got two ice tools which would totally overwhelm the pack. Plus I can't carry crampons on the pack.
3.) Compression straps are nice, and useful, but a bit short to lash a foam pad to the pack and of course add complexity and weight.
4.) I've got mixed feelings on the front pocket and mesh side pockets. The side pockets are too small for a quart water bottle when the pack is full, so I cut them off. The front pocket is nice and useful, but also adds a significant amount of weight to the pack. A smaller silnylon pocket on the inside of the pack would serve the same purpose and be lighter.
I've put about 15 days of use on the pack and see no signs of wear. I've been quite happy with the durability, but under further use the lightweight nature of the pack may become apparent.
Design quibbles aside, this is a great, cheap, light, durable backpacking pack that's accessible enough to provide GoLite a profit margin while still being useful to the hardcore customer. Great product.
Design: Top Loading
Size: Large - 3300 cubic inches
Max. Load Carried: 17 pounds
Height of Owner: 5' 11" (19.5" torso)
Price Paid: $90 from Campmor
I got this pack not for ultralight backpacking, but for a 9-day trip to Costa Rica. I didn't need to bring too much, but it wasn't going to fit in a daypack.
It was a tough choice at first because there were other packs with more organizational pockets and "features", but in the end I went for this and did not regret it. For traveling, it does lack some extra organizational pockets, or dividers within the voluminous single outside pocket, but I didn't really find myself missing them too much. The exterior mesh pockets are great for guidebooks or 2 liter water bottles.
When I first got this pack, the appearance was a little underwhelming, because of its minimalist design. But I didn't miss anything that would be on a normal frame or travel pack, such as a framesheet or a padded hipbelt.
As I got to know this pack, I loved that it really made me think about packing light, with a critical eye towards how much to pack. The tactile feel of the pack is incredible. I was slightly exhilarated every time I had to open up the watertight main zipper! The fabric is light, like a mini-tent. And it looks cool too (go with the grease color).
I had about 17 pounds of gear in my pack, and it was fairly comfortable. I did not seem to need the waist strap too much at this weight. We did a creek hike, and I found it to be stable when rock-hopping with all my gear. The shoulder straps are a little thin, and left a little to be desired when I was hiking without a shirt.
I'm excited to try this pack out on some lightweight weekend backpacking trips in the future. Also, I think it has a lot of potential as a stand-in for the traditional bike messenger bag.
Price Paid: $100
When I first got this pack I sang its praises, but as I soon found out on my thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail in 2008 I found it disintegrating. The stitching on the hipbelt wings, where they are attached to the main body of the pack, have been constantly unraveling (I have sewed them twice) and I have found the bottom of the pack to tear quite easily, even on snow. I have also found unraveling seams along the side stretch pockets but I do access these pockets frequently for my water bottle, maps, and data book. After only 800 PCT miles I am going to a ULA Conduit pack.
I am an ultra light enthusiast (on the PCT I typically carry 15 - 22 lbs.) and never carry more than 25 lbs.(even throughout the Sierras) so the Jam2 has not been overweighted or overloaded. The minimalist design, wt. and combination of other features are what initially attracted me to this pack, although I would like to see UL hipbelt pockets added.
I found this pack to be quite comfortable on my back with my slightly inflated folded 3/4 Therm-a-rest ProLite 3 sleeping pad inserted into the water bladder pocket and the original foam framesheet removed (did not do much for the pack anyway).
As I stated already, I am an UL'er so I understand the limitations of UL packs. I believe I treat my gear well.
But, I would like to see a pack last longer than this one has.
Design: top-loading, internal frame
Number of Pockets: 2 side pockets, 1 front pocket, 1 hydration sleeve
Max. Load Carried: 20 pounds
Height of Owner: 5'2"
Price Paid: $84.95
This is my first backpack and I bought it sight unseen. I got the small; my torso measures 16 inches. I'm 5'2" with a bad back.
I loaded up this pack with about 20 pounds of gear and went on an eight mile hike with 2700 foot elevation gain; my first moderate to strenuous hike of the season. I found the pack to be extremely comfortable; resting on my hips as it should. The hydration pocket is right against the back so that was nice and soft instead of being poked by other stuff.
With the compression straps I was able to cinch those tighter after lunch and make the pack smaller; what a terrific feature! It's an overnight pack AND a day pack! I was a little leery about buying such a lightweight pack, but the material is super tough and the design is such that it does not flop around if not full. I slipped my trekking pole through the top and bottom loops; it never shifted, poked me, or came loose.
I absolutely LOVE this pack; it truly felt like I wasn't wearing one! I'll be going on an overnight in three weeks and will report back on how it performed fully loaded then.
Number of Pockets: 6
Max. Load Carried: 55 lbs.
Height of Owner: 6' 4''
I have used this backpack for awhile now. I have been on three good trips with it and had no problems. I don't use a Camelbak so I like the accessibility of the pockets. It also pretty easily held everything I needed it to.
Number of Pockets: 2
Max. Load Carried: 25lbs
Height of Owner: 6'1"
Price Paid: $80
This is a simple no frills backpack. It has a large rear pocket and a side mesh pocket for water bottles. It also is easily compressed for smaller loads.
Where to Buy
The GoLite Jam2 is not available from the stores we monitor.
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The Jam2 is one of three packs in GoLite’s Ultra Series, designed for the core ultra-light customer. The Ultra packs (Ion, Jam2, and Pinnacle) offer maximum comfort at minimum weight for minimalist fastpackers, thru-hikers, backpackers, peak baggers, climbers, travelers, and day hikers.
An upgraded version of GoLite’s Jam Pack, the Jam2 is now available in men’s and women’s versions and has increased capacity. An ultra-light, multi-day pack, the Jam2 is designed for light and ultra-light backpacking, fastpacking, alpinism, winter day trips, rock and ice climbing, and summit bids. It features a roomy front pocket with watertight zipper, foam back pad, cord lock to secure the top, top compression strap, two angled side mesh pockets, ice ax loops, two side compression straps, a haul loop, and 3-liter hydration compatibility.
The Jam2 uses GoLite’s ComPacktor system, which lets you reduce the pack’s volume through two fixed compression anchor clips that convert a multi-day pack into a day-tripper.